Office to help residents, fight abuse

Constituency office chair Helen SaulsAugust speaks at the constituency office launch on Friday in the Bay. The office will act as a bridge between residents and the government, and address violence against women and children
Constituency office chair Helen SaulsAugust speaks at the constituency office launch on Friday in the Bay. The office will act as a bridge between residents and the government, and address violence against women and children
Image: Zamandulo Malonde

The fight against women and child abuse is set to take priority at the new constituency office in Nelson Mandela Bay, chair Helen Sauls-August said on Friday.

The Eastern Cape provincial legislature speaker said while the woman-led office’s responsibility was to serve the needs of the community at large, it would not treat the scourge of femicide as a “by-the-way” issue.

Sauls-August spoke at the launch of the constituency and introduction of the new constituency management committee at the Athenaeum, in Central.

She said the constituency would act as a communication bridge between local communities and the government.

“Our [role] is to assist communities with issues that they come to Florence Matomela House with questions about.

“You find that most of those are not issues of rates or such things they usually go to their ward councillor about, but sometimes it’s home affairs, Sassa or legal issues and we step in to assist, or point people in the right direction for help,” Sauls-August said.

The management committee comprises Sauls-August as chair, Nonzwakazi Gqwangu as administrator, Barbara Vumazonke as secretary, Eugene Johnson and Nolinda Mgabela.

The team is accompanied by former official members Ntombi Nama and JP Pretorius, who will not be participating in internal management voting.

The event succeeded a women and child femicide awareness blitz operation at the terminus in Govan Mbeki Avenue.

“We’ve seen from statistics the rate of violence against women and children and, being led by a woman, the constituency is there to make sure the issue of femicide is one of the issues we are continuously addressing,” Sauls-August said.

Guest speaker and gender activist Mzikazi Nkatha urged women at the launch to allow their homes to be spaces of open communication, to allow children to open up.

She said to achieve a femicide-free society, communities had to unite in dismantling patriarchy and homophobia.

“The main issue that has led us to where we are is patriarchy,” Nkatha said.

“It is high time women are seen as leaders and equal to men and it’s time we teach our boy kids at home that they are equal to girls and let our kids be who they want to be.”

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